My name is Christine Asenzea and I am the co-founder of Christella Enterprises Ltd that deals in MTN mobile money services, airtime and SIM packs and sale of MTN phones. I started the business in 2009 after I had completed university.
I was employed at shell Gulu under COMASE General Transporters where I was handling mobile money. I worked up to 2010 on a commission based arrangement. I had saved some money by the end of 2010 and was advised to start my own mobile money business by a friend. The registration of company was completed in 2011 and we started off business. All I can say, it is very difficult before you take the first step. Just do take that step.

What would you describe as your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement is expansion of business to five outlets and purchasing of fixed assets like land. Moving from being an employee to now owning the business, and working with a team of young people looking up to me for strategy and guidance is very fulfilling. Sometimes it is not about having a lot of money. It is the satisfaction of how you started and the journey you have been taking that makes all the difference.

How is your product/service unique from others in the same industry?

Mobile money service is about availability at any time a customer needs to make the transaction. We made it a point to be reliable, convenient at all times with good customer care /public relations with the customers. In addition, our customer care experience is unrivalled. We are now investing in training our staff to know everything about customer experience and mobile money operation. Any enquiry or glitch you have, we have the answer. Even if it is network related. We will explain to you that also machines, like humans who have to sleep at night, need rest so that they are serviced to offer better service and secure your money. Usually, people understand when you talk about safety of their money.

What would you say are the major challenges experienced by your business and how have you managed to overcome them?

Our business is cash and we have a lot of Conmen calling agents pretending to be MTN officials, theft/robberies and poor performance of employees at outlets. We have put business closure times and sticking to them to reduce the exposure of thefts and ensure our staff in the outlets are paid well and on time.

With the increasing use of mobile money, the business requires you to have huge cash balances to cater for the demand, this is a bit challenging given the required working capital and we have had to take up loans at one time. We have managed to stay due to good financial discipline, good public relations with people in the community as being a social worker, effective management of the business through capitalizing the business

Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 years?

I hope to see the business greatly progressing because I am looking at capitalizing the business more to ensure effective service delivery to the customers at all times without any disappointment in case of need of both float and cash. We also consider to explore how to open Internet business in this part of the country and partnership options with schools in enabling fees payments.

Apart from providing the product/service offered by your business, how has your business contributed to your community?

Carried out free registration of mobile users during the campaigns.
Educating women on the benefits of mobile money business such that it lets many operate it solving lack of money amongst them
Create employment opportunities such that many women will come on board and hence unemployment amongst women will be solved
It has brought development in the community through payment of taxes e.g. trading licenses to the government which has enabled proper construction of roads thus paving easy access to the facilities around them.
Advice to women

My advice to women is that they should not look at one side and they have to participate in business however small it is because with time they can grow big and then not rely on their husbands for each and everything.

How has MTN Uganda contributed to your achievement?

We currently use MTN mobile money, SIMpacks, airtime and phones. MTN was fundamental at the registration of the company since they provided us with lawyers who would travel from Kampala to help us with all the paper work. MTN has provided us continuous financial support and quality provision of their products to their agents at all times. This is truly a company for the people.

Author's Bio: 

Mustapha B. Mugisa is one of those rare people who provide value-based consulting to professionals and corporate entities who demand the very best. He is a prolific speaker, a strategy, risk and anti-fraud expert.

He is a highly qualified professional with over eight certifications and an MBA. He is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and the Architect of WinningMindset® Leadership and #WinningTheGame® Strategy, a new strategy approach that redefines strategy &execution.